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5 states are the most welcoming immigrants in America .. A bipartisan report reveals the reasons for the list

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Midwestern US cities are at the forefront of providing opportunities for immigrant communities, with Chicago set an example, according to a recent report published on Wednesday (November 13th).

 The New American Economy Federation, a bipartisan research consortium specializing in comprehensive immigration reform, released its second annual Cities Index, which assesses the support of the 100 largest cities for immigrants. This year Chicago ranked first, followed by Chula Vista, Cali, Jersey City and San Francisco. The USA TODAY newspaper published the highlights of the report.

“We are very proud that Chicago has been ranked as the most welcoming city for immigrants and refugees in America,” Chicago Mayor Laurie Lightfoot said in a statement. This classification reflects the hard work and dedication of many public officials and community members in our city, who lined up to stand up and fight for the rights of migrants and refugees, regardless of the cost. ”

In 2010, Michael Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch and other corporate executives launched the New American Economy Consortium, a coalition that specializes in reformulating immigration reform as a solution to reform and stimulate the US economy. The coalition aims to secure borders, prevent illegal immigration, create more jobs for immigrants, join the US workforce, and pave the way for the legal status of all undocumented immigrants.

The Alliance’s annual index uses 51 elements to determine how well cities are creating environments that help migrants succeed, including city language use mechanisms, employment and home ownership rates, and so on.

Andrew Lim, director of quantitative research at the New American Economy Union, said Chicago was at the forefront this year because the city provided a comprehensive legal environment and adopted policies that support unregistered immigrants and beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. However, like other major cities, Chicago has failed to provide affordable housing and income equality.

Immigrants make up more than a fifth of Chicago’s population, according to city estimates. In 2016, migrants made up nearly a quarter of the city’s purchasing power, earning about $ 17 billion in household income and paying $ 6 billion in taxes in 2016. That year, about 20,000 individuals were eligible for the Action program. Deferred for Childhood Arrivals »Living in Chicago.

The stormy city of Chicago has long considered itself a safe haven for immigrant communities. In 2016, then-Mayor Ram Emanuel declared Chicago a safe haven, and later challenged the Trump administration’s attempt to deny safe haven cities federal funding. In recent years, the city has established a new legal protection fund and launched a task force to coordinate policies affecting migrants and refugees.

“We are delighted to see Chicago at the forefront, which is largely due to members of the immigrant community who have struggled to make the city more welcoming,” said Lawrence Benito, executive director of the Illinois Coalition on Migrant and Refugee Rights. “Now, with a new mayor, we have a new opportunity to reinforce the progress that cities are making for immigrant communities across the country.”

Chicago is not the only Midwest city to take advanced steps in developing immigration support policies. Cleveland, Milwaukee and Toledo are among the cities that have improved considerably from last year.

“Midwest cities are already pioneering,” Lim said. “Much of this is related to their economic development plans. Many cities in the Midwest have been sparsely populated, so they encourage people to stay in these cities or come from far away to help them recover.”

Medium-to-large cities in the south and near the border – such as Chula Vista, a San Diego metropolitan area – are seeing policy improvements, with both immigrants and non-migrants accepting lower-cost housing and jobs, Lim said.

In smaller cities such as Jacksonville, Florida, Norfolk, Virginia, and St. Petersburg, Florida, researchers found smaller gaps in home ownership, health insurance, and educational attainment rates between immigrants and people born in the United States.

Many of the top cities have implemented policies aimed at welcoming migrants, the researchers said. Dozens of people have migrant offices, and more than half run or support entrepreneurship programs that serve migrants. Others issued municipal identity cards to increase migrants’ access to social services, established legal defense funds for migrants facing deportation, and provided immigrant counseling services during naturalization procedures.

Lim explained that the idea of ​​creating an index resulted from the desire to create a “global scale” that cities could use to understand how their policies compare with those of other cities.

“Often, the same question arises: how do we compare our city to other cities? What do other cities do? “We created this indicator to help local officials and policymakers figure out where they are.”

The top 24 cities in this year’s index are:

1. Chicago – Illinois

2. Chula Vista – California

3. Jersey City – New Jersey

4. San Francisco – California

5. Baltimore – Maryland

6. New York – New York

7. Anaheim – California / Newark – NJ / San Jose – California (combined)

8. Los Angeles – California / Portland – Oregon (combined)

9. Philadelphia – Pennsylvania

10. Washington, DC

11. Cleveland – Ohio

12. Cincinnati – Ohio / Greensboro – North Carolina / San Diego – California (combined)

13. Seattle – Washington

14. Detroit – Michigan

15. Fremont – California / Riverside – California / Sacramento – California (Combined)

16. Irvine – California

17. Albuquerque – New Mexico / Milwaukee – Wisconsin / Oakland – California (combined)

This article is translated from USA TODAY newspaper .